MSU ranked top SEC university for veterans, among nation’s best

Flags on display in front of Nusz Hall
MSU is once again being recognized by Military Times for its commitment to supporting military veterans, service members and their dependents. (Photo by Megan Bean)

Contact: James Carskadon

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State University is once again being recognized for its commitment to supporting veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces, current service members and their dependents.

In the Military Times’ Best for Vets: Colleges 2020 rankings released this week, MSU is listed at No. 21 among four-year schools, the highest ranking of any Southeastern Conference university. The publication’s annual ranking is an editorially independent news project that evaluates a variety of factors that make colleges and universities a good fit for service members and their families.

Building on historical military roots, MSU has long been recognized as one of the nation’s most veteran-friendly universities. Including dependents, the veteran community at MSU now comprises 2,977 students. Those students are served by MSU’s G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Center for America’s Veterans and other university personnel that assist them.

The Center for America’s Veterans at Nusz Hall is led by Brian Locke, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel. Locke said MSU continues to look for ways to do more for veterans and partnered with the Mississippi National Guard in 2018 to launch a free tuition program for Guard members enrolled full time at MSU. The university waives application fees for undergraduate and graduate student veterans. MSU also created an online processing application for students who receive G.I. Bill funding.

“As we continue to see growth in both our veteran and military dependent population, we must constantly strive to ensure we are providing the best customer service and developing the programs and services they need to transition into higher education and ultimately achieve their degree.” Locke said. “Our success as an organization is directly attributed to the wonderful support we receive throughout campus and to our staff members who works tirelessly to ensure the unique needs of our student population are addressed in a timely and efficient manner.”

In 2016, MSU completed construction of the G. V. “Sonny” Montgomery Center for America’s Veterans at Nusz Hall, a 7,500 square-foot campus facility featuring administrative offices, meeting areas, study rooms, a computer lab, and indoor and outdoor spaces for social and recreational activities. The center serves as a one-stop shop for processing of all veteran educational benefits.

According to the Military Times, the annual Best for Vets: Colleges survey asks colleges and universities to disclose academic outcome and input data, describe many aspects of veteran culture on campus and meticulously document a wide array of services, special policies, accommodations and financial incentives offered to students with military ties.

MSU’s recognitions for serving the veteran community include being named a top 10 Military Friendly school by VIQTORY, formerly Victory Media. MSU was designated a “Purple Heart University” in 2015 by the Military Order of the Purple Heart for outstanding service to military veterans, service members, dependents and survivors.

To review the 2020 Best for Vets rankings, visit

For more on MSU’s services available to veterans, visit

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Friday, November 1, 2019 - 10:43 am